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Eldorado

What exactly is consciousness?

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Eldorado

As you read this, the physiology of your brain is processing information about your surroundings. This is accompanied by a sense of self, the feeling that you are experiencing something.

You are conscious—and that is about all anyone can say with certainty about the mind’s most enigmatic phenomenon. 

Almost everything we know about consciousness, along with every philosophical and scientific challenge it raises, is cryptic.

The questions that surround it ring with controversy, disagreement, and discord: How are we conscious? What are its origins? What exactly is consciousness?

Interesting Engineering article

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Dreamer screamer

Consciousness is everything that exists waiting to be made possible.   The trick was to control the human mind to create a world for those that can see.  why we have the one eyed all seeing eye. in the land of the blind, one eye sees everything.  

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Manwon Lender
Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, Eldorado said:

As you read this, the physiology of your brain is processing information about your surroundings. This is accompanied by a sense of self, the feeling that you are experiencing something.

You are conscious—and that is about all anyone can say with certainty about the mind’s most enigmatic phenomenon. 

Almost everything we know about consciousness, along with every philosophical and scientific challenge it raises, is cryptic.

The questions that surround it ring with controversy, disagreement, and discord: How are we conscious? What are its origins? What exactly is consciousness?

Interesting Engineering article

All of the following paragraphs were taken from the following Peer Reviewed Paper, I think it can answer many questions for those interested in this subject, please enjoyhttp://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.881.176&rep=rep1&type=pdf

How exactly do neurobiological processes in the brain cause consciousness?” (Searle 1995a, p. 60). These attempts are predicated on the assumption, no longer seriously questioned, that our conscious experiences are indeed caused by brain processes. Accordingly, it is no coincidence that current attempts to discover how neurobiological processes cause consciousness have been attended by a waning of interest in the theoretical propositions and practical endeavors of psychoanalysis. It does not require a great deal of thought to recognize why this should be the case. The modern neuroscientific quest to solve the mystery of consciousness—a quest that understandably has captured the public imagination—involves an attitude to human subjectivity directly antithetical to the psychoanalytic attitude. 

The current zeitgeist is captured succinctly by the biologist Francis Crick (1994) in The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul. There he advances the hypothesis that “‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of per- sonal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules” (p. 3). In essence this is little different from the assumption mentioned above, namely, that our conscious experiences are caused by brain processes. In fact, Crick’s hypothesis flows naturally from that assumption. For what are “you” if not your conscious experiences 

What follows is an alternative conceptu- alization of the nature of consciousness, which I think squares more fully with reality, and which clears the way for a more useful approach to the problem. Freud stumbled upon this alternative conception, apparently derived from the psychology of Theodor Lipps, sometime between 1895 and 1900. In doing so, he stumbled also upon a solution to the problem of the relationship between brain and mind. Though it is per- haps not so surprising that by fundamentally reconceptualizing the nature of the mind itself Freud also reconceptualized the relationship of the mind to the brain, Freud himself seems only gradually to have rec- ognized this implication of his work.1 It is this implicit solution to the age-old problem of the relationship between brain and mind that I will spend most of this paper explicating. 

 

 

Edited by Manwon Lender

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papageorge1

In my Advaita Vedanta (non-dual Hindu) philosophy Consciousness is all that exists and is a mystery we can not get behind with our minds. A mystic/rishi by stilling their mind can experience Infinite Consciousness but the experience can only be approximated in words to finite minds. In Hindu philosophy Consciousness/Brahman is best described to our minds as pure infinite sat-cit-ananda (being-awareness-bliss). Our limited consciousness is a ray of the One infinite Consciousness (Brahman/Atma) incarnating finite forms (our body) temporarily giving us finite consciousness. 

 

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Xeno-Fish

Consciousness is an evolutionary mistake.

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Horta
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What exactly is consciousness?

An illusion, and an intermittent one at that. A byproduct of culture and language. 

 

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papageorge1
13 minutes ago, Horta said:

An illusion, and an intermittent one at that. A byproduct of culture and language. 

 

But what experiences the illusion?

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Xeno-Fish
8 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

But what experiences the illusion?

You are nothing more than programs. You don't actually exist. Just a clump of synapses trying to keep the animal you are alive long enough to reproduce. There is no free will. You, who you think you are is just a lie you tell yourself. Everything you believe is just the result of a positive or negative neurochemical hit. 

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papageorge1
18 minutes ago, Xeno-Fish said:

You are nothing more than programs. You don't actually exist. Just a clump of synapses trying to keep the animal you are alive long enough to reproduce. There is no free will. You, who you think you are is just a lie you tell yourself. Everything you believe is just the result of a positive or negative neurochemical hit. 

What experiences this collective physical activity? There seems to be a mystery thing missing in your explanation.

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Xeno-Fish
2 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

What experiences this collective physical activity? There seems to be a mystery thing missing in your explanation.

Our senses. All those bits of information create something we respond too. I know where you're going to attempt to take this, don't bother. Spirituality is just a lie used to protect our sense of self. 

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papageorge1
49 minutes ago, Xeno-Fish said:

Our senses. All those bits of information create something we respond too. I know where you're going to attempt to take this, don't bother. Spirituality is just a lie used to protect our sense of self. 

I won’t bother as you saw your own flaw. Spirituality follows from the evidence for me. 

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Horta
8 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

But what experiences the illusion?

The brain.

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papageorge1
44 minutes ago, Horta said:

The brain.

How does a bunch of atoms experience as a collective single consciousness? There’s a hard problem to still answer.

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Horta
8 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

But what experiences the illusion?

That question itself is based on a viewing things from an illusion, a misunderstanding. It's like the objection that if the magician doesn't really saw his assistant in half, then who really gets sawn in half?

Consciousness relies on the feeling that there is a separate "myself" experiencing things (separately from the experience itself), choosing and making decisions and thinking thoughts. Like there is a separate little person in our heads running things.

That's the illusion. No such self exists. Decisions are made at lower levels that we aren't aware of first, similar to thoughts. They just pop into our heads, we have no idea where they come from or what the next one will be. Our proclivities stem from way beyond this feeling of "self" also, which simply rationalises such things in a post hoc way.

It's a psychological and social byproduct of having a way to discern the complicated system of metaphors and analogues we use to communicate (language). It results in a self analogue as a well, a pov from which this happens.

Ultimately it all happens in the brain, but without these socio-linguistic features we would just be regular old apes acting instinctively. Which is what we are much of the time anyway. If we take notice "consciousness" is quite irregular, we aren't always conscious. It's intermittent.

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papageorge1
2 minutes ago, Horta said:

That question itself is based on a viewing things from an illusion, a misunderstanding. It's like the objection that if the magician doesn't really saw his assistant in half, then who really gets sawn in half?

Consciousness relies on the feeling that there is a separate "myself" experiencing things (separately from the experience itself), choosing and making decisions and thinking thoughts. Like there is a separate little person in our heads running things.

That's the illusion. No such self exists. Decisions are made at lower levels that we aren't aware of first, similar to thoughts. They just pop into our heads, we have no idea where they come from or what the next one will be. Our proclivities stem from way beyond this feeling of "self" also, which simply rationalises such things in a post hoc way.

It's a psychological and social byproduct of having a way to discern the complicated system of metaphors and analogues we use to communicate (language). It results in a self analogue as a well, a pov from which this happens.

Ultimately it all happens in the brain, but without these socio-linguistic features we would just be regular old apes acting instinctively. Which is what we are much of the time anyway. If we take notice "consciousness" is quite irregular, we aren't always conscious. It's intermittent.

In all that I am not seeing an answer to my question. How can you have an illusion without an experiencer of the illusion. A collection of atoms moving around can not have an illusion. It would just be atoms moving around with no illusions or experiencer.

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Horta
4 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

How does a bunch of atoms experience as a collective single consciousness? There’s a hard problem to still answer.

That's like asking how a bunch of atoms can give rise to the single quality of heat.

Or how a bunch of atoms can give rise to a single quality of wetness. Some quite hard problems there still to answer. We have no end of "hard problems" and explanatory gaps" if that's how you want to view things.

To single consciousness out as unique this way is bias, there is a name for this fallacy (can't remember exactly what it is at the moment though).

That the people who bang on about "qualia" and "the hard problem" usually explain it via illusionss that are generated by our brain and are unlikely to exist externally anyway (colours, smells etc) should be a clue.

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Horta
7 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

In all that I am not seeing an answer to my question. How can you have an illusion without an experiencer of the illusion. A collection of atoms moving around can not have an illusion. It would just be atoms moving around with no illusions or experiencer.

Yes, I know.

I don't expect you to get it, but the experiencer is the illusion

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Horta

ps. I think you might also be confusing the term "illusion" for something that doesn't exist. That's not so. An illusion (in this sense) is simply something that is not what it appears to be.

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psyche101

Consiouness is a set of evolved responses. 

As we moved to bipedalism and increased brain size our brains had down time which we used to imagine invent and make life easier.

Thoughts and imagination is the result of the ability to mix up images like a cat and a building and imagine a cat and big as a building using with concepts across a neural network termed the mental workshop. The brain functions chemically. 

 

No magic is required. Just use of the organ of discussion. 

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Horta

Crick's basic observation that..."you are nothing but a pack of neurons" is still correct in the sense it was given. Objections to this basic observation have been less than compelling. People often detest it, as reducing them to a series of brain states (that follows the same principles of nature as everything else), makes them feel less special. It really should do the opposite, should inspire awe.

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psyche101
11 minutes ago, Horta said:

Crick's basic observation that..."you are nothing but a pack of neurons" is still correct in the sense it was given. Objections to this basic observation have been less than compelling. People often detest it, as reducing them to a series of brain states (that follows the same principles of nature as everything else), makes them feel less special. It really should do the opposite, should inspire awe.

Especially when one considers just how many connections there are. 

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Horta
15 minutes ago, psyche101 said:

Especially when one considers just how many connections there are. 

Over 80 billion neurons on average with thousands of synaptic connections between them. That's a very complex system, the most complicated thing in the universe that we know of. Yet consciousness must be magic because the brain hasn't been explained to a level that would satisfy (as yet). 

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psyche101
2 minutes ago, Horta said:

Over 80 billion neurons on average with thousands of synaptic connections between them. That's a very complex system, the most complicated thing in the universe that we know of. Yet consciousness must be magic because the brain hasn't been explained to a level that would satisfy (as yet). 

Impressive isn't it. On a clear night if one can look up at the billions of stars in the sky, that's how many of those connections there are in one's head. Being able to understand that much alone is in itself a major achievement that's encouraging and more impressive than man made gods.

It's like the earth and ecosystems on it all over again.

Goddidit!!!!!!

Oh..... wait a minute........

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Horta

This seems like a reasonably good, and interesting explanation of the "Attention Schema Theory of Consciousness".

Fascinating, if you have an interest in such things. 

 

 

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Xeno-Fish

I used to hate the idea of just being a form of organic A.I., however if I'm running on subconscious programs. Then intentionally changing (installing new one) those programs would lead to relatively "easy" changes. 

Seems reasonable.

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